The Rural Services Network welcomes the news of an increase in Rural Services Delivery Grant in the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2021-2022 announced today. The RSN represents over 120 rural local authorities across the length and breadth of England and campaigns strongly for fair funding for rural areas.
Increasing the RSDG by £4million to £85million is a welcome increase however all councils delivering services in rural areas are not eligible for the grant, and it does not resolve the historical underfunding of rural local authorities.
The Spending Review recently indicated that spending power for local councils would increase by 4.5% and a £300 million grant to help fund social care. The settlement today highlights the additional £1 billion for social care however with only £300million of that from a social care grant, that leaves £700million to be funded by Council Tax.
Whilst this sounds fantastic, extra billions of pounds to spend, the RSN urges you to consider the reality that this will be funded by the average person on the street through Council Tax. Councils will need to increase council tax to fund core services for their residents. Rural residents already pay on average more in council tax per head of population than urban residents due to the historic underfunding of rural local authorities.
Graham Biggs, the Chief Executive of the RSN said:
“Whilst the RSN welcomes the increase in Rural Services Delivery Grant, we will be examining the settlement in more detail to see the impact on rural local authorities of this provisional settlement. We want a fair allocation of resources to rural areas and not see rural residents yet again penalised financially through higher council tax to balance the budgets due to inadequate funding by Government.”
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